Sleeping Pill Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline & Detox

A Guide to Sleeping Pill Withdrawal and Addiction Treatment

As their name suggests, sleeping pills are designed to help people fall asleep and stay asleep. However, some people may find that they wake up feeling groggy and disoriented after taking a sleeping pill. This is a common side-effect of these drugs that is typically easy to manage. Unfortunately, the use of sleeping pills can also lead to dependence and addiction, which can make it difficult to stop using them without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal from sleeping pills can be uncomfortable and even dangerous, so it’s important to know how to recognize it and what to do if you experience it.

What Are the Symptoms of This Form of Withdrawal?

One of the most common and mild symptoms of withdrawal is difficulty waking up. This is typically accompanied by a feeling of grogginess and disorientation. Technically, this is called hypersomnia, and it can be a very distressing symptom.

Other common symptoms of withdrawal from sleeping pills include anxiety, irritability, tremors, and sweating. In some cases, people may also experience hallucinations. Keep reading to understand how these symptoms and others vary depending on the amount of time you go without sleeping pills.

What Are the Common Consequences?

Withdrawal from sleeping pills can come with difficult symptoms, including rebound insomnia. This often occurs after a person abruptly stops taking sleeping pills after taking them over a period of days, weeks, or even longer. Those with rebound insomnia can have trouble staying asleep or going to sleep for several days. This can cause a person to go back to taking sleeping pills, which can then lead to a cycle of dependency that is difficult to break.

Rebound insomnia can be especially distressing for people with underlying mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. Other consequences of withdrawal include daytime sleepiness, impaired concentration and memory, and increased risk of accidents. In extreme cases, withdrawal can lead to seizures.

There also are other indirect consequences. For example, if you have a day job, you may find yourself struggling to stay awake and productive at work. This can lead to job loss or difficulty sustaining a career. Withdrawal also can interfere with your personal relationships, as it can be difficult to be present and engaged when you’re feeling sleepy and disoriented.

What Is the Timeline of Withdrawal From Sleeping Pills?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the timeline of withdrawal varies from person to person. In general, however, most people will start to feel symptoms within a few days of stopping sleeping pills. Generally, here’s what you should expect.

Day 1 to Day 3

This is when most people will start to experience withdrawal symptoms. The severity of symptoms varies from person to person, but they typically include difficulty waking up, feeling groggy and disoriented, anxiety, irritability, and tremors.

The First Week

The first week is when symptoms are typically at their worst. In addition to the symptoms listed above, people may also experience rebound insomnia, hallucinations, and seizures.

The Second Week

Symptoms should start to improve during the second week. However, some people may still struggle with daytime sleepiness, impaired concentration and memory, and anxiety. You may also experience tremors, sweating, and irritability.


It’s not uncommon for people to experience what’s known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) after quitting sleeping pills. PAWS is a condition that can cause symptoms such as anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and irritability. These symptoms may last for weeks or even months after you’ve stopped taking sleeping pills.

If you do experience any withdrawal symptoms after the third week, they are likely to be very mild. In some cases, people may experience a relapse of symptoms, but this is typically rare. For others, they may be more severe and last for weeks or longer. In general, the longer you’ve been taking sleeping pills, the more likely you are to experience withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawing from sleeping pills can be a difficult and distressing experience. It’s important to seek professional help if you’re thinking about quitting because withdrawal can have serious consequences. A professional can help you manage your symptoms and make sure you’re safe during the withdrawal process.

The Detox Process

If you’ve decided to quit taking sleeping pills, it’s important to do so under the care of a medical professional; withdrawal can be dangerous and even life-threatening in some cases. Your doctor will likely recommend tapering off your dosage gradually rather than quitting suddenly. This process can help minimize withdrawal symptoms and make the detox process safer.

Your doctor also will likely recommend that you detox in a facility where you can be monitored around the clock. This is especially important if you’re struggling with mental health conditions or have a history of other types of substance use. Inpatient detox can help ensure that you stay safe and comfortable during withdrawal.

What to Expect During the Detox

The first step in the detox process is to slowly taper off your dosage of sleeping pills. This process can take weeks or even months, depending on how long you’ve been taking the medication and your individual physiology.

After you’ve tapered off your dosage, you’ll likely experience some withdrawal symptoms. The severity of symptoms varies from person to person. The detox process can be uncomfortable, but it’s important to remember that it is temporary. With the help of a medical professional, you can safely detox from sleeping pills and begin your journey to recovery.

The Treatment

Unlike the detox process, which is only meant to help you physically detox from sleeping pills, treatment is meant to address the underlying causes of your sleep problems. Treatment can help you get to the root of your sleep issues and develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Treatment for sleeping pill addiction typically includes a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy, medication, and self-care.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This type of therapy can help you identify and change the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to your sleep problems. Cognitive behavioral therapy can also help you develop healthy sleep habits and cope with any underlying mental health conditions.

The process of cognitive-behavioral therapy can be different for everyone, but it typically begins with an evaluation from a therapist. Next, you and your therapist will work together to identify the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to your sleep problems. After that, you’ll develop a plan to change these thoughts and behaviors. Finally, you’ll practice these new habits in your everyday life.


In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication to help you manage your sleep problems. There are several types of medications that can be used to treat sleeping pill addiction. These include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, and natural sleep aids.

Medication can help you manage any underlying mental health conditions and ease withdrawal symptoms during the detox process. Medication can also be used to help you develop healthy sleep habits. One of the most common types of medication used to treat sleep problems is melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle.


In addition to therapy and medication, self-care is an important part of treatment for sleep problems. Self-care includes things like getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and practicing stress-relief techniques. Self-care can help you develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

For instance, your doctor may recommend that you exercise regularly to help improve your sleep. Getting regular exercise can help you fall asleep more easily and stay asleep throughout the night.

Family Therapy

You can also consider family therapy to help support your recovery. This type of therapy is typically geared towards helping you develop healthy communication and conflict-resolution skills. Family therapy can also help your family members understand your sleep problems and how they can help you recover. For instance, your family may be involved in your treatment plan. They may also help you develop a support system to get you through the recovery process.

Support Groups

Support groups are another important part of treatment for sleep problems. This is because they can provide you with social and emotional support. Support groups are typically made up of people who are going through the same thing as you. This can be a great way to share your experiences and learn from others. There are many different types of support groups, including online and in-person groups.

When it comes to treatment for sleep problems, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. What’s important is that you find a treatment that works for you. If one treatment doesn’t work, don’t give up hope. There are many different options available, and you may need to try a few different things before you find what works for you.

How to Select a Good Treatment Center

If you are dealing with a serious sleeping pill addiction or using other substances alongside sleeping pills, seeking the help of a drug treatment center may be your best option. Choosing the right treatment center for your needs is important. When you’re looking for a treatment center, you want to consider the following.

Find One That Has Enough Experience in Your Condition

You want to make sure the treatment center you choose has experience treating people with sleeping pill addictions. You can determine a treatment center’s experience by asking about their success rates and talking to other patients who have been treated there. You should also make sure the treatment center is accredited by a reputable organization to show that it has met certain standards of quality.

Find One That Uses Evidence-Based Treatments and Offers a Variety of Treatment Options

This means that their treatments are based on scientific research. You can ask the treatment center about their methods and look for reviews from other patients. You want to make sure the treatment center you choose offers a variety of treatment options. This is because different people respond to different treatments. For instance, some people may benefit from medication, while others may benefit more from therapy.

Find One That Offers a Holistic Approach

This means that the treatment center will treat your mind, body, and spirit. This is important because your sleep problems may be due to a combination of physical, mental, and emotional factors.

Make Sure You Feel Comfortable With the Staff

You want to make sure you feel comfortable with the staff at the treatment center. You’ll be spending a lot of time there, and you should feel like you can trust the staff and that they have your best interests at heart. To get a feel for the staff, you can schedule a consultation or tour of the facility. While there, you can ask the staff questions and get a feel for their bedside manner.

Consider the Location

The location of the treatment center will often dictate how often you can go. If you live far away from the treatment center, it may be difficult to get there for appointments. Ideally, you should choose a treatment center that’s close to home.

Get a Referral

If you’re not sure where to start, you can ask your primary doctor for a referral to a sleep specialist or treatment center. This is a good way to get started on your search for the right resources. You can also ask for recommendations from a mental health professional. They may know of treatment centers that would be a good fit for you.

If you’re struggling with a sleeping pill addiction, know that you’re not alone. There are countless people who have been where you are and have come out the other side. With the right treatment, you can too. With the help of a medical professional, you can safely detox from sleeping pills and begin your journey to recovery.

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Reviewed By:

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis completed medical school at The University of Mississippi Medical Center and residency in general psychiatry in 2003. He completed a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 2005. Following this, he served as Chief Medical Officer for 10 years of Brentwood Behavioral Healthcare a private health system including a 105-bed hospital, residential treatment, and intensive outpatient services.

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